I got my first period when I was 10-years-old, just a few months shy of turning 11. I was about to start the sixth grade, and while I was definitely sprouting body hair and growing tiny tits, I didn’t feel a surge of maturity. I felt awkward about the fact that I had to deal with blood coming out of my vagina for days, and I definitely felt weird about the fact that I was one of less than a handful of girls in the sixth grade that had their period (as far as I knew, that is). I associated periods with teenagers, not girls who were still in elementary school like I was. After talking to my mom, I discovered that she also started her period on the younger side; I’m not going to lie, I remember not-so-silently blaming her for passing on the early period curse to me.
Now that I’m no longer a pre-teen and I’m an even hairier adult with much bigger boobs, I have a much healthier relationship with my period (even when it’s absolutely kicking my ass and ruining my plans). However, my views on starting menstruation at an early age haven’t changed: There’s nothing cool or glamorous about it. I never understood the girls in my classes lying about getting their period, and to this day I’m sincerely confused by young girls who lament the fact that they haven’t started their period yet. Whether you’re having a hard time believing that or you can absolutely vibe with what I’m saying, check out these nine reasons why starting your period at a young age is actually miserable.
1. The school bathroom might not have the proper equipment in place to deal with students on their period.
My elementary school went up to the sixth grade, so most of the people using the bathrooms didn’t have to worry about a place to discreetly dispose of their pads and they didn’t need a machine that dispensed tampons for a quarter either. I don’t remember regularly seeing either of those things until I started middle school!
2. You’re totally out of touch with your body when you’re a kid, so having to understand it on a deeper level at an early age can be kind of scary.
It’s one thing to ask your mom if you can shave your legs before a pool party. It’s another thing to deal with blood gushing from a part of your body that you never even really explored all that much.
3. You’re a lot more hesitant to talk to friends about it because they don’t know what it’s like.
I once had to ask a friend of mine to assist me to the bathroom during a school trip because I was feeling absolutely terrible walking around in a pad for hours. She didn’t have her period yet, though, so it was hard to talk to her about what was going on.
4. You’re not really ready for a whole host of new responsibilities that come along with having a period.
Like…I had a hard enough time juggling reading assignments, math quizzes, and soccer practice. Suddenly I had to remember when to change a maxi pad too? Ugh!
5. Storing your menstrual products of choice is a lot harder when you don’t even carry a purse around yet.
I can’t even remember where the hell I put them. My backpack? That’s a lot less subtle to haul with you into the bathroom than a purse, that’s for sure.
6. You have to deal with some of your friends who wish they had their period like you, while you look at them like they’re crazy.
“Oh, you want to sit in a blood diaper for hours on end, do you?”
7. The anxiety of bleeding through your clothes is at an all time high.
Maybe it’s just because our brains aren’t developed enough to problem solve and figure out how to avoid getting blood all over the place yet. All I know is that if I wasn’t actually getting blood on my clothes, sheets, etc, I was panicking about the possibility of it happening. It takes time to get used to a period for anyone, regardless of age, but 11-year-old have a lot less chill than 15-year-olds, period (no pun intended).
8. Very few of your friends have an extra pad or tampon on hand if you need one.
You’re either going to have to suck it up or haul your butt to the school nurse and have an awkward conversation.
9. There are links between early periods and scary medical conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Getting your period before age 12 increases your chances of developing breast cancer and getting your period before age 10 might put you at a 27 percent higher risk of being hospitalized for or dying of heart disease. But please, continue to go on about how great it must be to blossom so early.
Did you start your period before the age of 12? What struggles do you/did you deal with? Tell us in the comments!